Protecting our elderly and vulnerable

Posted 06 January 2017 by Wendy Brighton

Several cases have come to my attention recently where, generally our older folk have been caused a great deal of stress and upset by unwanted intrusions into their homes or lives.

This is sometimes by telephone calls, sometimes letters or their own genuine requests for information which then leaves them vulnerable to pressure sales techniques selling them high priced goods which they do not really want.

Over the telephone there can be callers who are actively seeking to get bank details so as to take money from accounts- often the police do warn the general public when a particular scam is prevalent. The best prevention is never to give bank details over the phone however good the reason seems to be.

Letters come into our home threatening legal proceedings for fines that we have no idea we have ever incurred, if the explanation seems suspect, take the letter to a family member and get a second opinion, challenge the fine, ask for an explanation in writing, or consult a solicitor to write a letter to them.

When you see adverts for purchasing products especially suitable for elderly needs, if a salesman comes round; have a friend or family member with you who can point out, if the interview goes on too long, that you are too tired to make a decision now, that you want a cooling off period before you commit to a contract, that you are not prepared to pay out large sums of money as a deposit until you have given the matter further thought.

In many circumstances we are asked to give a decision there and then after at least an hour of persuasive talk, probably more and we wonder whether the ‘rep’ will ever go. This is not the best time to be signing a contract. Whilst the latest consumer law does go a long way to protecting the consumer there are still areas where you can be stuck with an expensive purchase which is way beyond what you wanted to spend.

There are of course many fair minded and genuine companies selling goods with excellent reputations for good value and excellent customer services.

However, the best way to protect yourself from the pressure sales techniques is to say before any representative comes to your home, that you will be happy to see them and discuss the details but you will not be making a decision on the day.

Good companies will be happy to leave you with documents to consider and leave their terms open for a few days- even if it is a bargain!

Stick to your guns and do not sign on the day unless you are completely happy with the cost and payment terms.

Most of all, if you have been caught of your guard and made a wrong decision let someone know as quickly as possible so that you can have the best chance of putting it right, after all, we all make some mistakes!

This article aims to supply general information but it is not intended to constitute advice.  Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead.  However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy.  Always seek specific advice. 

Capron & Helliwell Solicitors offer a range of legal services at the firm’s Stalham and Wroxham offices near North Walsham and Norwich in Norfolk. The firm specialises in areas including family law, conveyancing and private client law including wills and probate. Capron & Helliwell Solicitors offer free family law clinics – please call 01692 581231 for further details or to make an appointment.



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